"The other day i was walking down a crowded street here in San Francisco, and i saw a women in a faux Ramones style motorcycle jacket-it was shorter and boxier, more blue than black, and I immediately thought whoa thats some bullshit, fucking w a classic, not riding a motorcycle, def not a punk in any way, just a poseur. Then I look at myself in a store window: straight legged Japanese Repro jeans from the sixties, vintage warehouse tee shirt, black logger boots, old fashioned mascot glasses. And i thought what a judgmental bullshitter. Now i know what gatekeeping is... I'm wondering about how all of you feel about your clothing choices... Like, again, i've written this before, ideas about authenticity, costuming, gate keeping. I guess i only gate keep in my mind-i'm a very judgmental person, trying to get over it-i would never say anything about anyones clothes but i might think it..."
Dressing up is cool. How to enjoy it is up to you, but I find the traditional channels of entry to be incredibly constricting. Sticking your head into /r/mfa or styleforum is a bit like wearing sandpaper undergarments. There's two persistent dimensions that grate against your genitals in choosing something as simple as what to wear: class and masculinity. And especially so if you're American. It's not beaten over your head, but there's definitely norms that emanate from these communities outside of fashion basics like color theory or silouettes.
Clothing has always carried connotations of class, from back when trends trickled down from starched collars and codpieces. These castle corner shitting bureaucrats would establish the tie, suit, and dress shoe as Western European dress so analgous to formal wear today. But this is Europe of course, so peasants could only afford new linen workwear twice a year and specific items of clothing were restricted by class and enforced by law.
Back to America. Here, modern reactions to dressing how you like is truly baffling. Judgement precipitates from how others view the supposed implicit messages you're sending by the way you dress, an odd flavor of collectivist assimilation in the individualistic country. It's embracing classless dress as its own American uniform. It's emblematic of American exceptionalism in regards to class, a refusal to recognize social heirarchies and the portrayal of dress as reinforcement of pretentious classist ideals antitetical to the American mantra of "equality for all." Much of Western Europe, molded by centuries of feudalism, do not have this rabid preoccupation.
I'm guilty of this myself, I remember chuckling at men wearing capris back when I dressed like a Sears catalog model. Now I resemble a Star Wars extra on hot days. Who gives a shit.
workwear/military surplusThe current system of half-baked seasonal reiterations propped up by ruthless periphery exploitation is probably the best example of the artificiality that has much of the fashion industry by the gooch: selling volume, presenting lifestyles, it's a meaningless, commericalized pursuit. On the other hand, military garments were purpose-built with an exact demographic and exact role. The designs are unapologetically pragmatic, unmolested by the moisturized dick of global capitalism. Instead it's the consummation of bureaucracy and industry, their contribution to the destruction of other human beings.
Within this, it's the specialized garments that really catch my attention. Mechanized troops, Paratroopers, Mountain troops, Arctic troops, they all have a different set of stipulations that neccessitate divergent design decisions. Mountain trooops with double-breasted parkas, ski-ready square-toed boots, pass-through pockets, and lots of wool, all emphasizing retention and insulation. This specialization of design through utility is fascinating to me, and it makes clothing a thousand times more compelling.
Traditional menswear will always be baffling to me though. Formality adheres to a set of rather rigid rules on color and fit: it's a uniform with little latitude for fear of looking non-traditional. No wonder every quirky 20-something pairs their grey suit with eye-watering neon socks and handkerchiefs. Just seems like two converging ideas fighting for attention.
*the following question template has been stolen from welldresseddad
How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?Closest genre would probably be Mori boy. Earth tones, varying textures, and a wide silhouette. Miyazaki mountain hermit characters also get me hot and bothered. The original Star Wars trilogy is fascinating with all their practical effects and props. I've always liked the value proposition and purpose-built nature of military surplus so I initially gravitated towards mil-chic/japanese americana. Dyeing, tailoring was all I did. For camo I like very geometric, angular patterns. East German Strichtarn, West German Sumpftarn, Swedish M90, Urban-T to list a few. Linen and leather boots is also a fixation of mine. Once I move I might transition to wool. Excited to see what kind of options there are in cold weather clothing.
When looking for clothes, what factors play into your selections?
Still a focus on asymmetry, texture, layering, but drapeyness above all.
When putting together an outfit combination, do you spend a lot of time considering it?Not really. Balancing colors is easy when your closet is mostly brown, white, and black. Silhouettes I've been trying to put more thought in. I also need more pants, I've been blowing them off as "all the same."
Does your interest in clothes influence other aspects of your life?
I've become a lot less judgemental about how other people dress. Once you get acclimated with truly deviant stuff, everything else looks so much more acessible. If anything it's a bit disappointing that everyone else doesn't express their passions through their clothing.
It also led to the realization that the most valuable hobbies are one that change your worldview. I cam appreciate more, find joy and inspirationin the mundane. Same thing with photography.
Are you budget-conscious or spendthrift?I'm a cheapass. Probably haven't spent more than
Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?
Probably my DIY Gebirgsjägers Anorak, the feeling of cutting loose threads and wearing it was unrivaled by anything else I've made.
Anyone that buys clothes will have made mistakes, what is your most memorable bad buy?
Only 1 lukewarm purchase and that's a parka from a japanese brand for around $200. Fit is perfect, stitching is flawless, and the material lacks the swish-swash of cheap polyester, but I just don't have any instances to wear it. Too warm at home and I didn't bring it to the dorms. I don't regret it but I haven't gotten my money back in wears so far.
Do you have a dream garment you’d love to own?Hard to say. I make anything I have my eye on so that eliminates most of my impulse buys. I'd say a Kapital Wool Ring Coat. This thing is gorgeous. It's $600 USD and too complex for me to draft up, especially in wool. Perfectly fits my desert-survivalist theme.
What would you never wear?Polyester anything, above the knee shorts, flip-flops.
How do you think others would describe your style and garments, do you get any reaction from friends and random strangers?
I've gotten Jedi-core from my roommates.
What are your best tips for buying?
Do you have style icons, historic or current?On lord Knoch no question. Dude patterns and sews his own garments, that shit is insane. Too bad he's probably a neo-nazi. Kamote_Joe also dishes out fire. Lots of Mil-chic/japanese americana for his early stuff. AaronAbogado got me to try out wide/harem pants.
Having a large collection of clothes can dead to changing an outfit on a daily basis, bit if you were going to wear a single outfit the next two weeks, what would it be?
Do you make any of your own clothes?Yes! Small stuff like man-purses are easy enough. I've yet to go into dress shirts or pants but jackets and kimonos are my jam currently.
How do you see your style evolving going forwards?
uhh how do i label these
Hanten Linen shirt
My first "real" sewing project. Wanted to put an emphasis on an open neck/collarline and overlapping body. Front closure is done via two ties. Neckline and edge finishing was a bit maddening. Patterning was fun, but I would've used heavier cloth to test. Overall, my most refined piece of clothing.
Edit 4/16/19: Added a button so the neckline is a bit higher.
Overdyed British Army DPM Shirt
I actually already owned this overdyed jacket, but the symmetrical pockets popped into my head as an idea. Actual cost was $3 after using an ebay code, rest was the cost of the dye. Seeingly simple but fuck me dead are gussetted pockets a pain to sew. Dyed black over 2ish hours, I expect it to turn navy as I wear it more. There's a famous photo of British troops in Afghanistan who dyed their desert DPM green, coming out a grotesque shade of turqoise. Overall, an interesting and versatile jacket that I wear very often.
Wrangler 126MJ modified
Overdyed indigo, modified mandarin collar
Hanten Linen Jacket
This one was rather quick, opting for another pattern that avoided sewing the length of the body and simplified neckline. Drapes well, but I neglected to take out the selvedge on the hem which bugs me. I also need to add pockets and a front closure to make things a bit easier.
Hanten Patchwork Jacket
Pleated Hanten shirt
Really wanted to make another shirt but I've already made a white hanten. Used the same pattern from the brown hanten, simplifies the neckline significantly. Decided to add some pleating to add some folds and looseness. Back is gusseted, front has maetate. looks like shit on a hanger, but I love it when I wear it. Need to think of a closure for this too.
Mountain Troops Anorak
Loosely modelled after the WWII Gebirgsjägers anorak. It's thick upholstery fabric that I was planning to dye black. I quite like the arctic splinter camo vibes. I was expecting it to shrink during dyeing so I had to redo the pattern. If It came out too dark I was planning to wax it like a Barbour jacket. First time dealing with a hood so there were many mental gymnastics in order to visualize the final product. The rat tail on the back is a crotch strap to prevent the whole thing from hiking up during wind. There were also two ass pockets on the original, but I decided to omit them as they were in an odd spot. My copy is cut a bit shorter than the original.
Edit 4/17/2019: Sewed on the buttons finally, really like how It came out.
Go ahead and ask if you'd like patterns. I improvise most of my projects so it'll probably be a loose collection of hopes and dreams.